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A clinical trial involving a topical hair loss solution it was hoped may treat the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata has been terminated.

Minoxidil DropperThe reason stated for the LEO 124249 treatment trial cancellation is ‘futility’, according to the ClinicalTrials.gov database.

LEO 124249 topical alopecia solution

The issue as to whether a topical hair loss product that appeared to have similar properties to another topical treatment already available, was a point raised on the Belgravia blog when the LEO Pharma trial registration was announced in 2016.

Whilst this was not confirmed, the fact that the clinical trial has been suspended in the manner it has suggests that the treatment was considered futile for one of two reasons: either the solution itself did not work, or it was too similar to existing drugs to be worthwhile developing further. The latter point could be particularly pertinent if other solutions were more tolerable, safer with a lower side-effect profile, more effective or simply cheaper.

What this development certainly does not mean is that developing an effective treatment for Alopecia Areata is pointless. It is, in fact, an area of great interest and activity, especially when it comes to the forms not currently treatable – Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis – and for all types in children aged 15 and under.

Currently the only form which can be treated is the scalp-only phenotype, and then only in medically-suitable over 16s.

Alopecia treatments

At present the suite of drugs known as Janus Kinase inhibitors have seemingly produced the most successful results during clinical trials. Both topical and oral JAK inhibitor drugs are in late-stage testing to treat all forms of autoimmune alopecia, and the latest estimate for a potential release date – should these meet all necessary medical regulatory board criteria – is 2021.

A further drug based on a JAK inhibitor has also shown promise and has been fast-tracked for development by the FDA. This expedition was granted due to the unmet needs of Alopecia Totalis and Universalis patients.

Whilst the age group either treatment will cater to remains unconfirmed, reported clinical trial data has so far largely concentrated on adults aged 18 and above. A recent trial registration has confirmed that one JAK inhibitor – tofacitinib – is being explored as a potential children’s treatment for mild to severe Alopecia Areata.

In the meantime, hair loss charities and services such as paediatric psychodermatology, can help younger children – and their support networks – to cope with the emotional effects of these noticeable conditions.

For adults, if the hair loss is confined to the scalp, Belgravia offers a range of treatment options, but if baldness occurs in any other hair-bearing areas, from facial hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, to the entire body, it is wise to contact a doctor for further advice.


The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic - Hair Loss Specialist ConsultationThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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Rugby Australia CEO, Raelene Castle arguably has a lot on her plate due to having the tough job of running the sport’s governing body, especially in a largely male dominated industry. So it is understandable that she wouldn’t want any additional distractions – such as a constant dialogue regarding her hair loss.

In an interview with ESPN Australia, Castle expressed sentiments echoed by many with the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata by sharing her story to raise awareness so that, by educating people, she can focus on getting her notoriously tough job done.

Raelene Castle

Empowering women in business

When I talked about it originally, I was concerned about three things: one, I didn’t want people to think I had cancer. Secondly, it’s not stress related — sure I could be healthier and do more exercise, but fundamentally that doesn’t make any difference — it’s just an autoimmune issue that my body has. Thirdly, I want to share my experiences with some young females in the business environment who are struggling with Alopecia,” Castle told ESPN AU.

As a woman, she understands how she can be judged somewhat differently to her male peers, with women’s appearances being far more significant to others – and harshy critiqued – than men in similar positions. As her particular type of autoimmune alopecia – which affects the scalp only – involves patchy hair loss with cycles of hair regrowth and relapse, she often covers her head with a bandana or scarf. This in itself has led to awful criticism and ignorant abuse from the rugby community, particularly on social media.

I think as a female you do get judged differently for what you wear and your appearance. People can be really cruel. At the end of the day I understand the issue, but people judging you for your appearance, saying ‘what are you, a pirate or a Muslim’ and those sorts of comments when they are uneducated to the issue that I face, is just one of those things.”

However, with a sensible head on her shoulders, Raelene Castle is getting on with the job in hand, not letting this deter her from the business of rugby. She is thrilled to have been able to inspire and empower other women in business who also have to deal with hair loss conditions.

I’ve had 40, 50, 60 women reach out to me and thank me for sharing my story, they’ve told me how it’s really helped them to think about how they might deal with it and how they can be honest about it — it’s been a really positive thing for me to do, to share my story and to help some other young women.”

Genetic element to Alopecia Areata

What is particularly interesting about Raelene Castle’s insight into having Alopecia Areata is that both she and her brother have the condition. Whilst hers is the mildest form and only affects her scalp, her brother has Alopecia Universalis which means he has no hair on his body from head to toe. This is the most extreme phenotype of Alopecia Areata.

Alopecia Areata treatment is available for the scalp form which Raelene has but there are no effective solutions for the form her brother has, as yet.

Whilst a number of triggers have been identified that can spark off Alopecia hairloss, including sudden shock and allergies, what is yet to be discovered is the condition’s precise underlying mechanism and what actually causes it. A genetic element has been suspected for some time, following various studies, though it has not been widely proven enough to be properly confirmed.


Circ - The Belgravia Centre Treatment for Hair LossThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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In a move its star hopes will help to promote awareness, Bollywood movie Gone Kesh will feature a main character with autoimmune hair loss.

Haraamkhor actor, Shweta Tripathi will play a teen who wants to become a professional dancer and is diagnosed with Alopecia Areata. This is the most common form of hairloss worldwide behind Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss, and can affect men, women and children of all ethnicities.

According to Bollywood.com, it will be India’s first film based on the subject – though we can’t think of many Western films tackling this important subject either.

Shweta Tripathi alopecia hair loss bollywood filmEmotional journey

Tripathi (pictured), who is 32 years old, will portray the character’s emotional journey from finding out she has Alopecia Areata to how she then deals with it between the ages of 15 and 24. This is set to include the lack of understand her character faces regarding autoimmune alopecia, which is one of the reasons the former Disney Club series Kya Mast Hai Life star was drawn to the role.

This is an extremely special film to me. I had given my consent after reading just the synopsis as it intrigued me. I choose films when they strike a chord with me, and this one did and how,” Shweta Tripathi told Bollywood.com. “As an actor, to get the chance to play a part and pan out the journey of the character is thrilling. I feel movies made on social issues and not so well-known medical conditions always create an awareness in society. I know now what people with alopecia go through as some of them told me their stories.”

Types of Alopecia Areata

The phenotype of Alopecia Areata that Tripathi’s character will have has not yet been revealed. The condition causes sudden hair loss of different levels and in various locations depending on which type is present. Alopecia Areata – the name for both the over-arching group of conditions and the most mild form – affects the scalp only and causes rounded bald patches to appear. Though Alopecia Areata treatment is possible for this form, this is generally only for those aged 16 and over.

The more extreme phenotypes – Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis – present as baldness of the head, and total hair loss from head to toe, respectively. Whilst no treatment options currently exist for these versions, many are in development and it is currently hoped that a safe and effective hair loss solution will become available for these conditions by 2021.

In the meantime, children and adults may benefit from support from organisations who help to raise awareness of the condition, and what it entails. In the UK, hair loss charities such as Alopecia UK, Little Princess Trust and Hero by LPT do a great job of promoting knowledge surrounding these easily misunderstood issues, as well as providing tips for coping with Alopecia. It is hoped that Gone Kesh will further educate people about Alopecia in order to make life that little bit easier for those affected.


The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic - Hair Loss Specialist ConsultationThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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Psychodermatology is the treatment of skin disorders using psychological and psychiatric methods. It can also help people to stick to their medical treatments when they neglect to do so due to psychological issues.

The mental health aspects of skin disorders, from severe eczema and vitiligo to hair loss, can be a struggle for adults to deal with, but when children are affected it can be even harder to cope without help. As such it is important for parents, carers and children themselves to know that professional assistance is available.

Children Hair Loss Alopecia Areata HelpAt the 2018 annual meeting of the UK Psychodermatology Society the ‘trials and tribulations of building a new paediatric psychodermatology service’ were discussed.

Psychological support

The new children’s psychodermatology service in question was set up in 2017 at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, in South London, opposite the Houses of Parliament. This is a National Health Service (NHS) service. The AGM took place on 25th January 2018 and published abstracts from the meeting in the British Journal of Dermatology on 16th May 2018.

The first presentation explained the process of having the setting up the service. It noted that the hospital’s paediatric dermatology referrals have increased by 38% since 2014, and there are a number of specialised paediatric clinics: genetics, adolescent, hair and severe eczema.

As a result of this extra demand for these specialist clinics, there was a simultaneous rise in the number of children needing psychological assistance.

They were subsequently referred to the paediatric psychology team at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, close by to St John’s. However, the increased number of patients meant a longer waiting list for appointments. As the wait times extended to many months, this was said to impact the children’s ‘psychological needs and adherence to their dermatological treatment’.

As a result, St John’s was awareded a one-year pharma grant for a 0.5 whole-time-equivalent band 8a psychologist to set up its own dedicated paediatric psychodermatology service, given no NHS funding was available. This was set up in April 2017 through a partnership with the Evelina Paediatric Psychology Service.

Ahead of this, clinicians identified children who may benefit from using this service and put together a database so that, as soon as it was up and running, referrals could be made. The AGM notes state that ‘parallel psychology clinics were established together with dedicated sessions at the severe eczema clinic.

Many children seen by the psychologist had severe eczema and frequently displayed associated ‘anxiety, depression and adherence issues’. Those considered to have ‘severe psychological needs’ were referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Among the other conditions the children using the service suffered from were two hair loss conditions: Alopecia Areata and Trichotillomania.

Continues below…

London St Thomas Hospital Guys Hospital Houses of Parliament Westminster

Alopecia Areata is both an umbrella term for a group of autoimmune disorders which cause varying degrees of hair loss, and the name of its mildest phenotype, where rounded bald patches appear on the scalp only. It can affect people of all ages and races. Other forms include Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis which can cause total baldness of the head, and from head-to-toe, respectively.

Alopecia Areata treatment is possible for the scalp-only form – at Belgravia this is possible from 16 years of age – but the more severe forms have no solutions or management options at present for children or adults. Alopecia Areata may clear up of its own accord in many cases but whether this will happen cannot be predicted. Usually if this is to happen, regrowth will occur within 12 months.

Trichotillomania affects roughly 1 per cent of the population and, whilst often considered a hair loss condition, is actually a psychological compulsion which compels those affected to twist or pull out their own hair.

In order to address the condition, psychotherapy – often cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – helps sufferers to identify the underlying reasons for their compulsions. From there they can learn to identify triggers in order to develop coping mechanisms and diversion tactics to put an end to this damaging behaviour.

Once someone with hair loss from trichotillomania is ‘pull-free’, should they be concerned about regrowing hair, treatment may be possible but only if the damaged follicles are still active. A consultation with a hair specialist can provide a prognosis and personalised treatment recommendations, where appropriate.

Advice for children and their families

Some of the numerous topics covered by the St. John’s psychologist included ‘coping with visible skin disease, living with a chronic condition, adherence to treatment, habit reversal and parental support’.

Parents and affected children also attended a workshop on the subject of ‘transitioning to secondary school’ when you have a chronic or visible skin condition. This took place in August 2017, covered coping strategies and received ‘excellent’ feedback from attendees, with the highlight being getting to hear directly from a child and one of their parents about their experience of starting secondary school the year prior.

A mindfulness group for teenagers was also due to take place in 2018 though dates were unconfirmed at the time of publication.

Due to the importance and value placed on it by patients and their support networks, there is believed to be a business case for the paediatric psychodermatology service to become a permanent fixture at St. John’s. As yet – at June 2018 – there is no update on whether this has received the official go-ahead.

Whilst mental health advice should be sought from specialist medical professionals, for those wanting additional support – for instance from their peers – hair loss charities can be a valuable resource.


The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic - Hair Loss Specialist ConsultationThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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Aclaris Therapeutics, one of the pharmaceutical companies at the forefront of developing JAK inhibitor treatments for all forms of Alopecia Areata, has announced a new clinical trial.

Following studies into its novel drug known as ATI-50002 as a scalp hair loss solution for Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis, the topical solution will now be investigated for its potential to regrow eyebrow hair.

Whilst the drug is being trialled for the most mild to the most severe forms, it is quite rare for people with scalp-only Alopecia Areata to also experience eyebrow shedding.

eyebrow hair loss alopecia totalis universalisTwice daily applications

An open-label study comprising 12 participants aged 18 years and over with various forms of autoimmune alopecia that includes complete hairloss in at least one eyebrow, will start soon, having commenced its recruitment process in April 2018. Both men and women who meet the eligibility criteria can take part.

This includes not being pregnant or planning to become pregnant during the study, being in generally good health, not having any active or latent bacterial or viral infections, scalp conditions, HIV, Hepatitiis B or C, and no history of eyebrow tattooing or microblading. Those whose eyebrow hair loss is likely to be permanent – either due to over-plucking or scarring alopecia – are also excluded from the Florida-based study.

Entitled ‘An Open-Label Pilot Study of the Safety, Tolerability and Efficacy of ATI-50002 Topical Solution Administered Twice-Daily in Adult Subjects With Eyebrow Loss Due to Alopecia Areata, Alopecia Universalis or Alopecia Totalis’, the trial registration information states that this is a Phase 2 trial.

Participants will apply the ATI-50002 medication directly to the affected areas of their brows twice per day for 24 weeks. As the time-frame information for the period during which volunteers will take part in the trial is ‘anticipated to be a maximum of 233 days’, this suggests there will be on-going monitoring of brow hair regrowth for around three months after the initial 168-day active treatment phase.

Aclaris currently estimates the study’s completion date to be December 2018.

Not available yet

In 2015, another JAK inhibitor, ruxolitinib, was also tested as a cream-based treatment for eyebrow hair loss in a patient with severe Alopecia Areata. The results were promising, with significant regrowth being visible by the 12 week mark. This was, however, a one-off incident and it is hoped that this wider-ranging trial – whilst still small in scale – can produce similarly impressive results.

Whilst Alopecia Areata treatment is currently available for the scalp-only form, the further-reaching forms which cause baldness of the entire head or all hair-bearing areas, currently have no reliable options. Until such time as a treatment is developed, those concerned about eyebrow hair loss have a range of cosmetic options, including eyebrow wigs and microblading.

JAK inhibition is just one area being investigated and is currently one of the great hopes people with Alopecia Totalis and Universalis have for regrowing hair in the future. Developing hair loss treatments is a lengthy process, especially when it is a novel solution rather than an alternative to an existing option. Whilst no JAK inhibitors are yet available to treat any hair loss conditions, clinical trials of both topical and oral treatments are still on-going. Therefore estimated development schedules are subject to change based on their findings, but it is thought that the first JAK inhibitor alopecia treatments could be available by 2021.


Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic Reception - New StreetThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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When it comes to the more severe forms of autoimmune alopecia, the fact that no Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis treatments exist which are truly effective is often hard for affected adults to deal with. But, for children with hair loss it can be even more difficult.

Whilst Alopecia Areata treatment for the scalp-only form of the condition can be treated in those aged 16 and over, those aged 15 and under currently have limited options.

One of the big questions that started being asked once JAK inhibitor treatments started to appear promising for regrowing hair in adults with all forms of Alopecia Areata, was ‘will they be suitable for children?’.

Childrens hair loss treatment trialNow, it would appear researchers in Philadelphia, USA, are currently trying to provide an answer.

Topical tofacitinib 2% solution

The findings of a clinical trial were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Concerns regarding the potentially serious side effects of oral tofacitinib were considered sufficiently reduced in water-based ‘liposomal’ topical versions to warrant a small-scale paediatric study.

The University’s team investigated the use of a topical 2 per cent solution of the JAK inhibitor tofacitinib on 11 patients – 2 boys and 9 girls – aged between 4 and 16 years of age. These children all had either scalp-only Alopecia Areata (AA), Alopecia Totalis (AT) or Alopecia Universalis (AU) – which cause baldness of the head, or from head to toe, respectively – that had been present for at least two years.

Seven of the participants had a family history of autoimmune disease and each had failed to see results from previous courses comprising drugs including prednisone, methotrexate and/or class 1 or 2 topical steroids.

Treatment, whereby the 2 per cent tofacitinib solution was applied directly to the affected areas of the scalp daily, took place for a mean duration of 34.5 weeks.

Mixed results

The trial reported mixed results in terms of success. Over the course of the study, changes to each child’s hair was assessed using the Severity of Alopecia Tool (SALT). According to these SALT figures, 8 out of the 11 patients showed improved hair growth, and the test yielded an overall average reduction in hair loss of 32.3 per cent. Continues below…

childrens hair loss treatment trial tofacitinib solution alopecia areata topical jak inhibitor

Of the 11 children, one dropped out of the trial. Three were seen to have what researchers describe as ‘cosmetically acceptable regrowth’, which they determine as being ‘sufficient to cover the scalp or able to conceal residual areas of hair loss’. Whilst two of the participants showed initial signs of progress, their hair regrowth reversed at the month 9-12 mark. One other patient did not respond to the topical solution so was offered oral tofacitinib (also known by the brand name Xeljanz) and responded positively.

Xeljanz Used to Treat Alopecia Universalis in Yale Hair Loss Treatment StudySix of the ten children who finished the trial have decided to continue using the solution, and with the exception of one instance of scalp irritation where the solution was applied, no adverse reactions to the tofacitinib were reported.

The report authors conclude, ‘These limited results suggest that topical tofacitinib might be a reasonable adjunct or second-line therapy for pediatric patients with AA, AT, and AU for whom systemic therapies are not desired. Controlled studies with larger cohorts are needed to determine efficacy and identify factors associated with favorable outcomes.’

JAK inhibitor hair loss treatments are not yet available for adults or children as they are still in development. Only once they have successfully completed each necessary clinical trial stage and then been granted the relevant MHRA license for the UK and FDA approval for the USA, will they become available for prescription use. Though all reports to date have showed that these trials appear to be progressing well, any set-backs will cause delays. However, for now the estimated release date for these treatments is thought to be the year 2021.

In the meantime, anyone concerned that their child is experiencing sudden or unusual hairloss of any kind should always consult their doctor as a first port of call. Additional information and support can be found from dedicated hair loss charities which can often be a source of great comfort, as well as – in the case of the Little Princess Trust and Hero by LPT – provide real-hair wigs free of charge.


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


Related Stories


Actor and TV presenter Gail Porter has been one of the UK’s most open and highly visible supporters of hair loss since losing her hair to autoimmune disease in 2005.

The bald Scot has consistently used her platform to promote awareness of Alopecia Areata, including the emotional toll it can take.

Now the Daily Mail has revealed that Porter, 37, is seeking counselling in the hopes that therapy may help her to come to terms with her condition.

Mental health

Autoimmune alopecia in all its forms can be extremely distressing, but especially in that which Gail Porter has now – Alopecia Universalis which is the most severe and causes total baldness from head to toe. She has previously experienced the scalp-only form of Alopecia Areata, as well as the head-only phenotype, Alopecia Totalis.

It comes on suddenly and, frustratingly, the precise cause of the condition is unknown though a number of triggers, including shock or sudden trauma and allergies, have been identified. What’s more, whilst the scalp-only form often tends to rectify itself naturally within 12 months, this cannot be guaranteed and is increasingly less likely with the more extreme forms of Alopecia.

Porter has previously tried many methods in the hopes of overcoming her autoimmune disorder, including acupuncture and restrictive diet plans. She has, however, steadfastly refused to wear a wig in her every day life.

Now, she has turned to specialist cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in order to deal with her hair loss ahead of a forthcoming TV appearance. This is likely to be an emotional event as it is the first time Porter will be wear a wig in front of such a large audience.

CBT is a form of psychotherapy which involves identifying triggers and patterns of behaviour and learning how to spot these so they can be successfully managed. It is a type of learned coping mechanism often suggested to people with the hair-pulling disorder Trichotillomania to help them become pull-free.

Gail Porter has been incredibly open about dealing with a number of mental health issues, from post-natal depression and bi-polar disorder to suicidal thoughts. She has often stated her belief that going bald played a part in some of the negative aspects of her life, including loneliness and her bankruptcy due to TV work drying up after she lost her hair.

She is certainly not alone in this; Alopecia Areata has been linked to psychiatric disorders and a 2015 study noted 66 to 74 per cent of people with Alopecia Areata reported psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression, but further research is still needed as it is still considered something of a ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario. Other celebrities with Alopecia Areata, including England rugby sevens player Heather Fisher and American actor Jackie Nguyen have both admitted to struggling with the mental side of hairloss.

Through CBT, hopefully the Wright Stuff panellist will find some peace by getting to and overcoming the root of her feelings towards losing her hair, and start to rebuild her self-confidence.

Potential hair loss solution

Porter has spoken of never coming to terms with seeing herself without hair, and feeling “ugly” due to her bald head and lack of eyebrows and eyelashes. Whilst the cosmetic techniques used in eyebrow microblading, a type of medical tattooing using ultra-fine needles and special dyes to mimic the appearance of individual brow hairs – something Gail Porter tried in 2016 – are becoming increasingly advanced, it may not be long before methods of actually regrowing hair on the scalp is a realistic possibility.

A suite of drugs known as JAK inhibitors are now in the latter stages of clinical trial development, and – whereas currently Alopecia Areata treatment is only possible for the scalp-only form – promises to treat Alopecia Totalis and Universalis as well. As the various drugs, thought to include topical and oral options, as well as PRP injectables, are still in the study stages there is no confirmed release date. However, it is estimated that the first treatments for all forms of Alopecia Areata – including the form Gail Porter has – should be made available via prescription by 2021.


The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic - Hair Loss Specialist ConsultationThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


Related Stories


In November 2016, K-pop star Peniel Shin, one of the seven members of BtoB, went on TV to discuss the fact that he was losing his hair.

Peniel Shin BtoB hair loss alopecia areata hair grew back

Peniel Shin, January 2018

The then 23 year old had been using bandanas and caps to hide his hair loss which developed slowly over a five year period.

His Alopecia Areata – an autoimmune disorder which causes sudden hair fall, leaving behind bald spots on the scalp – began with one small patch. As more began to appear, the singer decided to shave his head as a coping mechanism.

Now, however, as witnessed during his appearance at the 2018 Gold Disc Awards in South Korea, his hair appears to be growing back.

Hair regrowth after Alopecia Areata

As can be seen in photos and videos of the Chicago-born star, though some of the areas of patchy hair loss are still visible, Peniel’s hair is certainly growing back.

It is actually common in cases of scalp-only Alopecia Areata for hair regrowth to resume naturally though this generally happens within the 12 months of it first occurring. Given Peniel’s hairloss has lasted for around seven years now, it may be the case that the 25 year old has been receiving some kind of Alopecia Areata treatment in order to help accelerate his recovery.

At Belgravia this involves the use of appropriate formulations of topical medication, which is often paired with non-pharmaceutical supporting hair growth products. There are also a number of other options that can be used, with some having higher success rates than others.

Although we cannot see for certain from media images of Peniel’s hair, the lighter circles may be caused not by remaining areas of patchy hair loss, but by a change in his hair colour.

Peniel Shin BtoB hair loss shaved head alopecia areata

Peniel Shin, November 2016

When the hair grows back after Alopecia Areata it may sometimes regrow devoid of pigmentation. This gives the appearance of pale – white or creamy-coloured – hair. Given the Korean-American has naturally black hair this would be extremely noticeable, but following a few normal growth cycles the hair tends to revert to its original shade.

Hair loss may return

Though the Korean-American’s hair looks like it is making a good recovery, it is possible for Alopecia Areata to recur. The reason for this – and the etiology of Alopecia Areata itself – is unknown, however, a number of triggers have been identified.

Previously Peniel Shin has explained that his hair loss was caused by stress. As such, doing what he can to minimise and manage any stressors in his life would be advisable. However, as a busy popstar with a demanding, international schedule, this may be easier said than done.

Whilst the more severe forms of Alopecia – Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis – cannot currently be treated, the scalp-only form can. As such, anyone noticing sudden on-set bald patches developing should seek expert help so that they can be quickly diagnosed and, if desired, begin treatment.


Circ - Minoxidil iconThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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HairlossANSWERS - Click to Submit Your Query to Our Hair Loss Experts

Name: Rachel

Question: some of my shedded hairs are noticeably thinner toward the root, they get thinner around 6-10 cm from root. is that considered an exclamation mark hair? or do exclamation mark hairs get thinner in closer proximity to the root? also, could you please detail what sort of allergies can cause this? thank you

Exclamation point mark hairAnswer: Hi, Rachel. Exclamation mark hairs tend to thin in closer proximity to the scalp than what you describe here.

They occur naturally and are a key feature in diagnoses of the autoimmune hair loss disorder Alopecia Areata, often found surrounding the rounded bald patches symptomatic of this condition, especially in its early days.

Though allergies are one of a number of factors known to trigger Alopecia Areata – hence their association with exclamation point hairs – the specific allergies and causes are as yet unconfirmed. It is suspected that allergies to dust mites may cause the condition and, given Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune disease and people affected by one immune-related disorder are more likely to experience others, issues such as coeliac disease (autoimmune gluten intolerance), and atopic conditions including hayfever and asthma may also be present in people with Alopecia, but whether they are the actual cause remains unknown.

Interestingly, anti-histamines – traditionally used to treat hayfever – have also been trialled as a potential treatment for Alopecia Areata, though these studies were perhaps not as successful as previously hoped given the lack of follow-up. When it comes to the scalp-only phenotype, Alopecia Areata treatment is possible but involves topical solutions.

This is an extremely active area of research so it is hoped that more will be known about the mechanisms of precisely what causes Alopecia Areata, and the environmental and genetic factors which may further provoke autoimmune alopecia, in the future. For now though, it remains a fairly enigmatic condition which can affect men, women and children of all ages and races.

However, it is worth noting that this ‘exclamation mark’ hair shape has also been found in cases of trichotillomania – as documented in a 1993 investigation into the diagnostic relevance of exclamation mark hairs – so, whilst it is most commonly associated with Alopecia Areata, that is not the only form of hairloss it pertains to.

If you are concerned about excessive hair fall we recommend having a professional consultation as this will get to the bottom of the cause of any hair loss. The specialist you see can also answer your questions and provide you with personalised recommendations for treatment, where appropriate.


The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic - Hair Loss Specialist ConsultationThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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A Phase 4 clinical trial hopes to demonstrate that the anti-inflammatory properties of the drug apremilast can help people with a permanent form of hair loss known as Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA).

CCCA is a form of scarring, or cicatricial alopecia, which radiates out from the centre of the scalp and is most commonly experienced by women of colour. Relatively little is known about this form of hair lossother than the fact that the hair follicles are often destroyed due to inflammation, and it tends to run in families.

A 2017 study found that almost half of African American women were affected, whilst it was recently revealed that Black women have a higher risk of CCCA and uterine fibroids, which were discovered to be linked.

Apremilast

Reducing inflammation

Apremilast, which is also known by the brand name Otezla, is an oral medication currently used to treat a number of immune-related diseases, including plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, in tablet form.

It has also been – and is still being in the second instance – investigated in relation to treating Alopecia Areata – an autoimmune disorder which causes sudden patchy hair loss – and as a potential treatment for Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia which is currently untreatable.

Though CCCA is not a form of autoimmune alopecia, the team of researchers at New York’s respected Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai hospital believe it may treat Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia in mild to moderate cases.

Latter stages of clinical trial process

The Mount Sinai trial registration announced it was now recruiting 20 test subjects to take part in this new study, on 10th May 2018. It is hoped that the trial proper will start on 31st May 2018, and the estimated end date is currently given as 15th October 2019.

The single-centre, 24 week trial will only involve female participants aged 18 years and over, who are of African descent.

According to the researchers’ stated aims, they believe ‘the anti-inflammatory properties of apremilast may play a role in the decreasing scalp inflammation in patients with CCCA and may prevent further hair loss and potentially induce hair regrowth in patients with mild to moderate disease’.

The fact that the trial is now in its Phase 4 stage indicates that it is far along in the development process. Usually once Phase 3 has been successfully completed, a new drug can be put forward for licensing and approval by the relevant medical regulatory boards – such as the MHRA and FDA. If this is granted, it can then be made available for prescription use, and Phase 4 indicates the post-marketing monitoring of the medication by users.

If apremilast does prove a safe and effective solution for CCCA, it would be a significant breakthrough given the prevalence of the condition and the fact that it currently has no effective treatment options.

We shall be following the outcome of this exciting trial with interest and reporting the latest information as soon as it is released, here on our dedicated hair loss blog.


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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